Oil prices mixed in Asian trade

Oil prices were mixed in Asia Monday as dealers awaited fresh US economic data for clues about demand in the world's top crude consumer while gains were a resurgent dollar kept a lid on gains, analysts said.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for July delivery added seven cents to $59.79 a barrel and Brent crude for July eased three cents to $65.34 in afternoon trade.

Analysts said investors were looking to the release Tuesday of US durable goods orders for April and the second reading of first-quarter gross domestic product on Friday.

"Both these figures will give an indication of demand for industrial commodities in the US," said Daniel Ang, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

"Depending on how the US durable goods orders turn out, we expect oil prices to take queue from this and move accordingly," he added.

Ang said dealers were also anticipating "weakness in the Q1 GDP" as the world's top economy is still not firing on all cylinders.

"Although we believe that this should already be priced in, we may see an immediate impact if results turn out lower than estimates," Ang said.

Bernard Aw, market strategist at IG Markets in Singapore, said oil prices are also under pressure owing to a resurgent dollar after the Federal Reserve said its plans to raise interest rates this year remained on track.

Fed chief Janet Yellen said on Friday she expects to hike rates from historic lows "at some point this year", warning that a delay could risk overheating the economy.

Her comments came two days after minutes of the Fed's April policy board meeting made clear that slow growth in recent months meant it was not expecting a rise before late July.

Interest rate adjustments are closely watched by crude investors as an increase usually leads to a pick-up in the dollar.

A stronger greenback makes dollar-priced oil more expensive for buyers using weaker currencies, denting demand.

mba/bjp/dan

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